FHN and FHHS have Built a Rivalry over the Years


Credit to Sophie Schmidt

FHHS and FHN have built a strong rivalry since FHN was established in 1987, despite varying results in multiple sports

By Joel Boenitz, FHNGameday.com editor

The FHHS Vikings going up against the FHN Knights. For the past decade or so, the matchup could be comparable to a second seed going up against the fifteenth seed in March Madness in nearly every sport FHN has faced them in. And while this Goliath vs. David matchup always seems to have a predictable ending, the FHN side has come out and supported the team against one of their biggest rivals. So how did this rivalry truly come to be in the first place? Let’s take it back to beginning to watch the rivalry bloom, shrivel up, and begin to bloom once again.

The rivalry between the eldest FHSD high schools can be traced back to the late 80s and early 90s, especially in football. When FHN was originally built back in 1983 as Henderson Junior High, the school didn’t have a football stadium to play home games in. So, when the junior high had a building built for them and high school students started entering the school now known as FHN, the football team couldn’t play at FHN. Instead, the games had to be played at FHHS’s home field. At first, FHN’s fans who showed up to games against FHHS would cover up their faces in the stands with paper bags or newspapers. But the more times FHN’s would play on FHHS’s field, the rivalry sparked up even more. As now head coach Brett Bevill remembers when he played, the game was hyped up as FHN was ready to “Beat South,” a phrase that would spark anger in FHHS fans and would lead to an intense and competitive game. Despite not putting on a uniform for FHN for the past 18 years, Bevill still has a bit of the rivalry close to his heart.

“When I was a player, I used to have a lot of hate in my heart for them. I mean I still can’t wear blue clothing, nevertheless blue and gold for that reason,” Bevill said. “It was an intense and deep hate. But now as a coach, there’s a little more respect for them since we haven’t won against them in a while.”

Around the same time that the football rivalry was getting bigger, the two schools introduced an event that would spark up the rivalry in the winter season. Since 1994, the two schools have plotted their two hockey teams against each other in the ever famous Gold Cup game. Since that first game, which ended in a 4-4 tie, the Vikings have beaten the Knights 13 times, while the Knights have won 11 times. Over the years, the stands have become more filled for both sides and have become even more rowdy, to the point where fans are kicked out for poor behavior. For senior Drake Johnston, who’s experienced gold cup on the ice for the past four years, he’s recognized the popularity of Gold Cup among each grade level and feels that it can’t get much more popular than it is already.

“I think Gold Cup is as popular as it is because it’s one of the first games of the hockey season and of course it’s against Howell. We’ve been doing it for so long that every single kid who’s come to North has heard of it and then of course they want to go to it and they go to it and it’s fun,” Johnston said. “From there it just keeps snowballing every single year. Every set of freshman go and then all the other grade levels go because they’ve already been. And I guess everybody likes to talk bad about Howell.”

As the Howell/Howell North rivalry was starting to reach its peak, a new school came into the fray in competition for best rival: the Francis Howell Central Spartans. When the school was originally built in 1997, both of the elder high schools hadn’t really considered the school as a rival. But as time went by and FHC became a staple in the schedule for both schools, a rivalry began to bloom. While Central’s rivalry with Howell can be seen from a more competitive standpoint, the rivalry North has with Central can be seen as a bit more playful and reunion like. This is mostly due to the fact that a majority of both school’s student body comes from a similar middle school, that being Hollenbeck Middle School. Unlike the rivalry with Howell, most games, as Athletic Director Mike Janes sees it, is seen as a sort of fight for bragging rights and not for competition. For that, he feels that the competitive rivalry has been Howell vs. Howell Central.

“Back then there was a rivalry between us and Francis Howell, but Central put a big wrench into that when it came in,” Janes said. “With Central coming in it took a bit of the rivalry away because I think the bigger rivalry is between Howell and Central. I think we still look at it as a rivalry, but I’m not sure that Howell would view us as a rival. But I think it depends on the sport and what kind of success they are having.”

As the new millenium rang in, the rivalry constantly produced games that were tightly contested between the two older FHSD high schools and at one point the Knights had begun to dominate the Vikings in some sports. However, around 2008, the momentum of the Knight’s winning streak changed suddenly and FHHS started winning against FHN on a consistent basis. First starting with girls’ volleyball, almost every sport that has faced off against FHHS has had a multiple year losing streak against FHN since 2008 before the current school year. But fortunately for FHN, it seems that some of them are reaching their end, as two teams were able to end their losing streaks this year, those being girls’ volleyball and girls’ basketball. The girls’ volleyball team was able to end the longest losing streak against FHHS [11 years] in a 2-0 victory at home on Oct. 9, one year after they had won their first set off of FHHS in five years. As for girls’ basketball, the girls ended a seven year losing streak by beating FHHS at their home on Jan. 18 by a score of 51-48. On top of that, the basketball team also secured a season sweep against FHHS after beating them on Feb. 8, 57-53. On both of those teams, one of the main contributors to the points scored in those games was sophomore Isabelle Delarue, who knew how important it was to beat Howell.

“It feels really good beating Howell,” Delarue said. “Starting off with volleyball that was a huge accomplishment for us, and that’s something I wanted the whole season. In basketball we all got after it and we all knew we wanted to end the streak and we made it work.”

While Howell has been a very dominating opponent for North in some sports, there are still some sports that have been able to stand their ground against Howell. One of the most notable sports teams where this has happened has been FHN’s Girls Soccer team. Since the beginning of this decade, the Knights have won 12 out of the 18 times the two teams have faced. While the Knights dominated the Vikings from 2010 to 2013, the Vikings have been able to pull off a couple wins, and as of recent, has been able to prove to be quite fierce competition for the Knights, something senior Abbie Miller has seen first hand since her freshman year, and hopes get both wins against Howell this season.

“It’s always crazy because you’re always trying to win. If you’ve won one game against Howell that season you want to try and beat them again that next game,” Miller said. “But it always seems to come out that we win one and then we lose one against them, so hopefully this season we can win both of them.”

While the rivalry against FHHS seems to be changing constantly, it’s safe to say that whenever FHHS comes to FHN, they are met by an abundance of FHN students waiting to cheer against them and for FHN. With the possibility of FHN getting moved to the GAC Central conference, it is important to view how significant these games truly are not just to the players, but for the district as well. Whether it be the pink-out/blue-out game, Gold cup, or anytime FHHS and FHN face off, it always seems to be a major event in the eyes of FHN’s fans, which is something that some students, like Goonies lead Noe Bustos, can be used for good.

“I think the main thing is emphasizing the importance of these rivalry games,” Bustos said. “We have FHHS games scheduled for the big pink out games and everything, so what would be nice if the high schools collaborated on big events like these. Kind of like we did for the pink-out game this past football season, when we sold the ribbons in honor of the student from FHHS, something like that to show the person that no matter what school you are from, the district will support you and the different causes each team plays for.”